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Use of P200-B Malampaya fund, up to Congress – DBM

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, November 9th, 2017

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is ready to cooperate with any investigation that will be initiated on the controversial Malampaya fund.

This stemmed from the Commission on Audit report that questioned the use of 184 Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs) amounting to around P38-billion.

The said orders were done under the Arroyo and Aquino administrations.

A big chunk of the fund were allocated to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Department of Agriculture.

The Malampaya fund was designed to be used exclusively for exploration activities and other activities related to energy resources.

“So when you release money for construction of roads, or maybe even giving subsidy for drivers, the jeepney drivers, to me that is not the appropriate use of the fund, right?” said DBM Sec. Benjamin Diokno.

To date, there are P200-billion left in the fund, which the DBM leaves to Congress to decide for its proper allocation.

“We have to change the purpose of that fund, because the government is no longer involved in this activity.  It’s a private sector or a joint venture activity. So that P200-billion fund, for all practical purposes, is very difficult to access that or used that, so might as well give it to the treasury and let Congress appropriate the money for our purposes,” Diokno said.

He added that they have not and will not conduct any changes in the guidelines on the use of the said controversial fund. – Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue

 

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Farmers to lose P114-B a year if farm gate price of palay remains low — Piñol

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

Rice farmers in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – Local farmers may lose up to P114 billion if the farm gate price of fresh palay remains low, according to Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol.

At present, the price of palay ranges only from P12/kg to P14/kg which is lower than the P20/kg, the price that was in effect before the implementation of the Rice Tarrification Law (RTL) in March.

Secretary Piñol noted that traders earn huge income from the liberalization of rice importation.

He also pointed out that the landed cost of rice is only a small amount like those which are imported from Myanmar which is only P18/kg.

Because the new law stripped off National Food Authority’s (NFA) regulatory function, traders have become aggressive in pushing for more importation.

“Masyadong ganadong mag-import yung mga trader right now kasi feeling nila wala ng magko-control sa presyo ng bentahan ng bigas sa palengke. So napakalaki ng margin of profit nila, (Traders have become more aggressive to import because they believe nobody else will control the pricing of rice in local markets so their margin of profit is increasing),” the Agriculture chief said.

Based on the Department of Agriculture’s monitoring, rice prices at present ranges from P32/kg up to P70/kg with only about P1 to P2 drop per kilogram.

This is about a quarter of the expected reduction in the price of commercial rice in relation to the implementation of the rice tariffication law which is supposedly P7/kg.

The Department is set to implement the suggested retail price (SRP) on commercial rice starting next week which ranges from P35/kg to P38/kg.

“We would like to address the greed of some importers doon sa markup nilang napakalaki (regarding their very high markup) by setting a cap on the selling price of imported rice

The official said the implementation of the SRP is based on the Price Act wherein violators may be fined.

The NFA already implemented the SRP on rice in the past but it was invalidated due to the implementation of the RTL.

Piñol said that the law did not specify a limit on the amount of rice that the country may import.

However, it gives the President the authority to increase tariff in the event of oversupply. – with details from Rey Pelayo

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Duterte vows to strengthen military, police to prepare for ‘dangerous times ahead’

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attends the 115th Police Service Anniversary at the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Quezon city, metro Manila, Philippines August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Noel Celis/Pool

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday vowed to continue working on strengthening the country’s military and police forces to better prepare them for what he says are dangerous times ahead.

In a speech during the appreciation dinner for former President and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the Manila Hotel on Tuesday night, Duterte said he would like to leave behind a strong Armed Forces and police when he completes his term in 2022.

Duterte said he should be prepared because of the incoming peril he senses.

“I see very dangerous times ahead. And I hope that we will be able to contain whatever there is,” he said.

“Lumalabas nga ‘yung pawis sa kamay ko just thinking about if it would go awry outside of Sulu and Basilan Islands,” he added.

The president further stated that while he has acquired the necessary military weapons to fight terrorism, he also expressed hope that Congress would make a move to further strengthen the country’s line of defense.

“We have acquired so many armaments. And there were things, kakaunti na lang, which I hope that Congress would tide us over to complete the instruments that we need in dealing, especially with terrorism,” he said.

Duterte also hopes that by the time he steps down from office, the country’s troops will be supplied with new weapons and tools to deal with terrorism because he is not sure if the next president will be able to do it.

“I hope that by the time I make my exit, nandiyan na lahat ‘yan because I am not belittling the events to come or the person coming in to be the next president. Hindi ko alam kung sino,” he said.

“And I’d rather that I leave with a strong military and police and equipped to challenge the enemies of the state, especially terrorism,” he added.

On Monday night, the president met with military officials but the Malacañang has yet to release any detail on what was discussed during the said meeting.

This follows the June 28 twin blasts in Indanan town in Sulu, which killed eight people including three soldiers, and injured 12 others.

Authorities earlier confirmed that one of two suicide bombers behind the Indanan explosions was a Filipino.

The Philippine National Police Regional Crime Lab Office 11 reported that examination on reference DNA samples taken from Vilman Alam Lasuca and Alhussin Alam Lasuca concluded there is a 99.99% percentage probability match.

Vilman and Alhussin Lasuca are claimant mother and brother of one of the suspected bombers.

 “Hence, it can be concluded that one of the alleged suicide bombers is the son of Vilman Alam Lasuca,” RCLO 11 said in a laboratory report.

The identification of the second suspected bomber, on the other hand, is still underway as authorities are still collecting DNA samples to establish match on its identity, authorities said. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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Skyway Stage 3 Plaza Dilao Ramp to open in two weeks – DPWH

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, July 5th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The construction of Skyway Stage 3 project is in full swing and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DWPH) is targeting to accomplish at least 95 percent of the project before the end of 2019.

On Friday (July 5), DPWH Secretary Mark Villar arrived at the construction site in Buendia, Makati City to inspect the progress of the project.

Skyway Stage 3 Project is an 18.68 kilometers-long elevated expressway composed of five sections:

  • Section 1 – Buendia Avenue, Makati City to President Quirino Avenue, Manila City;
  • Section 2A – Pres. Quirino Avenue Manila to Tomas Claudio Street, Manila;
  • Section 2B – Tomas Claudio Street, Manila to Aurora Boulevard, Manila;
  • Section 3 – Aurora Boulevard, Manila to Quezon Avenue, Quezon City;
  • Section 4 – Quezon Avenue, Quezon City to A. Bonifacio Avenue, Quezon City
  • Section 5 – A. Bonifacio, Quezon City to NLEX

The project has eight access ramps or interchanges:

  • Buendia Avenue, (South Super Highway, Makati City)
  • Pres. Quirino Avenue (Malate, Manila)
  • Plaza Dilao (Paco, Manila)
  • Nagtahan/Aurora Boulevard (Manila)
  • E. Rodriguez Avenue (Quezon City)
  • Quezon Avenue (Quezon City)
  • Sgt. Rivera Street (Quezon City)
  • North Luzon Expressway (NLEX)

The project aims to reduce the usual two-hour travel time from Buendia in Makati City to Balintawak in Quezon City to about 15 to 20 minutes.

Secretary Villar ensured that the skyway is resilient to environmental hazards and can withstand the strongest earthquakes.

“This is seismic rated and it was constructed with that in mind for a seismic event and ang project namin diyan up to 8 kaya niyang mag withstand (we project it could withstand up to magnitude 8),” he said.

During his visit, Villar also announced that the opening of the first exit ramp at Plaza Dilao, in Paco, Manila is set within the next two weeks.

The DPWH said motorists will enjoy a month-long toll-free journey through the exit ramp while the Toll Regulatory Board is still discussing the exact amount of the regular toll.

Skyway Stage 3 project is among the major road projects prioritized by the DPWH.

“Confident naman kami na (We are confident that it is) substantially completed, which is, meaning around 95 percent of the project will be completed before the end of the year,” Villar noted.

“May konting area na lang na kailangang tapusin pero nakuha na namin yung right of way kaya tuloy tuloy na yung construction (There are a few areas still for completion and we already obtained the right of way so the construction is ongoing),” he added.

This project is one of the government’s solution to decongest traffic in Metro Manila and to accomplish President Rodrigo Duterte’s promise of 5-minute travel time from EDSA-Cubao to Makati Area by December. – with reports from Joan Nano

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